Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, October 5, 2013

#AmWatching The Descendants (starring George Clooney)

The Descendants

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Matt King (George Clooney) attempts to repair his relationship with his two daughters after his wife is in a boating accident off of Waikiki.

  • Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley
  • Directed by: Alexander Payne
  • Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Release year: 2011
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox

 

Plot Summary:

With his wife Elizabeth on life support after a boating accident, Hawaiian land baron Matt King takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the man who was having an affair with Elizabeth before her misfortune. Written by realndn06

Matt King's family has lived in Hawaii for generations. His extended family - namely he and his many cousins - own 25,000 acres of undeveloped land on Kauai held in trust, which ends in seven years. The easiest thing for the family to do is sell the land before the seven years is up, which is all the talk in the state, as, to whom they sell the property could very well change the face of Kauai. Despite the vast wealth that comes with the land, Matt has decided to live solely on what he earns as a Honolulu lawyer. However, Matt has not had a perfect life living in Hawaiian paradise as many believe. He and his wife Elizabeth were having problems in their marriage. She recently got into a boating accident which has placed her in a coma. Their seventeen year old daughter Alex is in boarding school on the big island since they couldn't handle her rebellion, which was made all the worse by an argument of an unknown nature between mother and daughter during Alex's last visit home. And their ten year old daughter Scottie is starting to act out, which Matt doesn't know if he can handle, potentially raising her on his own. Matt decides to bring Alex home upon news that Elizabeth is brain dead, and that she will be pulled off life support. But revelations about Elizabeth and Alex's argument, which is tied indirectly to the issue of the land sale, leads to some decisions on Matt's part about what is best for him in both mourning Elizabeth's death and what is the best thing to do about the land, the two decisions which may be incompatible. Written by Huggo

Attorney Matt King is having a difficult time coping with his life at the moment. His wife Elizabeth is in a coma in the hospital following a boating accident. His youngest daughter Scottie is acting out and in many ways Matt is forced to be a parent for the first time in a long time. Matt is also in control of a family trust, one that is set to expire in a few years time. The trust owns a huge tract of land - vigorously sought by developers - the sale of which would be of great help financially to many of his cousins. He fetches his eldest daughter Alexandra from school and in a heated argument learns that Elizabeth was having an affair and was going to divorce him. Matt sets out to see the man, but isn't quite sure what he will say or do when he locates him. Written by garykmcd

Harmless by Ernie Lindsey

CHAPTER 1

Here’s how it happened, and most of this is true.

That night, a single pop of gunfire next door interrupted a well-earned scotch. 

Long day.  Feet up.  Tie loosened with the Giants down by two runs in the ninth.  You know how it goes.  You wake up expecting normal things to happen—like a shower without the hot water heater going bust, or fixing your eggs without burning a fat blister, or the judge deciding that you are, indeed, entitled to see your kids every other weekend.  One bang of the gavel and you trip backwards down the stairs of Progress, rolling and tumbling until you land on your rear, dazed, alone, and seriously pissed off.

First floor: defeat, desperation, ladies’ lingerie.

It’s amazing how a thin slingshot of material—a mixture of lace and cotton, a thong, or thongs, plural—can ruin ten years of marriage, a career, and the relationship you’re supposed to have with your children.

The fault lies with me.  I’ve admitted it.  I’ve apologized.  I’ve begged.

I am, and remain, an unforgivable wretch.

At least, according to the court system.

And those who are unfamiliar with me.

I jumped to my feet, drenching a pants leg with sloshing scotch and melting ice, and pulled two blinds apart at the window.

The woman next door, the first time I met her, she initially said her name was Jan.

She said Jan, I know she did, but we’ll get to that later.  The mistakenly delivered mail from Sterling Savings & Loan referred to her as Kerry Parker—do I really look that sketchy?  Sketchy enough for her to lie?  Also, I used this joke on her, an old standby:  “I think I know you from somewhere…maybe from high school…yeah, didn’t we have Chemistry together?  No?  Well, we do now.”

Jan, Kerry.  Kerry, Jan.  I’ll call her Kerry.  It’s easier that way.

She moved in six months ago and lived alone in a modest ranch home with dark, red brick and white shutters.  Her plants died in the summer heat while her yard stayed over-watered and jungle-like.  What kind of person does that?  I was positive that an entomologist could find a number of undiscovered species crawling throughout its vines and lush green canopy.  I’d offered to mow it for her several times while mowing mine (shirtless, of course—the tan stays even, period), but she always declined, said she could use the help but no thanks, and then would scurry inside like she was trying to get away from me.  Cute butt waggling in short shorts, flip-flops slapping against her heels as she climbed the three steps leading up to her porch.

I mention the cute butt because, well, how could you not?  I mean, really, it’s like a bubble.  The one time I got a better look from my office window, as she sunbathed in her backyard—no top and a pink thong, of all things—that was all it took to confirm that yes, “bubble” was the perfect word.  It’s not like I was spying.  I just happened to be on the computer upstairs and looked outside.  Maybe for a little too long—what’s the harm in that?

The difference between a peeping tom and coincidence is timing—and duration.

She was thirty-two, eleven years younger than me.  And I know this because I got a quick look at her driver’s license—Kerry Parker, confirmed—which I found in the front seat of her car.  (A storm was coming.  Her windows were down.  I try to be helpful in such situations.  I do.  Honest.) 

She was separated from her husband, according to the letter from Wellington & Wellington, Attorneys at Law, which, coincidentally, was the same firm handling my case.  So it was a complete accident that I opened the envelope.  I thought it was mine

When I gave it to her, I got the feeling that she was slightly unnerved.  Explaining what happened eased her apprehension, I’m sure of it, but she still gave me the same kind of look you give a car salesman when you know he’s trying to give you the shaft and guaranteeing that you’ll enjoy it.  I should know.  I’ve gotten that look several times peddling metal over at Thrifty’s Used Cars.

Harmless

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Mystery/Suspense

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Ernie Lindsey on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://www.ernielindsey.com/

Knights of the Dragon by Albert J. Gallant @Alberttttt

Knights of the Dragon

This novel contains baby dragons and adventure. It also encompasses valorous knights and humor. It’s a tale of magic and mayhem.

Knights of the Dragon is an exciting tale of knights, wizards, romance and dragons. The adventure to save Leeander is on! When an exceptional baby dragon is born will it change everyone’s destiny?

A dragon named Ryxa befriends a boy only to discover that his kingdom will soon be conquered by another and the boy is doomed, and so to save him and his people she hires knights to go on an adventure with her and the boy to find magic.

Leeander’s knight Stone is sent out to capture a wizard in an attempt to defend the kingdom while trying hard to keep his eyes off princess Alexa, who insists on going with them in pursuit of a sorcerer.

Meanwhile, a red dragon named Ella falls for a black dragon, which is taboo, and she tries hard to resist his irresistible charm. She doesn’t want her life to be left in ruins because of bonding with a black dragon.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Albert J. Gallant on Twitter

Website http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/a-j-gallant.html

5 things I Wish I Knew by SM Boyce


Hi everyone! I’m S. M. Boyce, raging nerd and author of the bestselling Grimoire Saga. I often answer questions from aspiring authors on Twitter and via email, so I wanted to share the 5 things I wish I’d known before becoming a published author. Fellow authors, I would also love for you to share your list in the comments, even if it’s just a point or two.

#5—Don’t read reviews
There’s no way on Earth an author will satisfy every reader out there. It’s just not possible. And sometimes, readers who are not in your target audience will read your book, hate it, and tell the world. You can’t learn from reviews like that, and bad reviews hurt even authors with the thickest of skin.

On the flip side, I do like to read positive reviews. I also read through well-written critical reviews to see if there’s a consistently reported error in my work. I can learn from that.

#4—“No” is an acceptable answer
It’s easy to get lost in my to-do list, and that often means I over-commit and forget I’m only human. We authors have to take care of ourselves, especially since many of us are balancing full time jobs or family on top of our career. It can seem impossible to balance everything.

So it’s absolutely okay to say “no” if you can’t do something. It’s worse to over-commit and disappoint people. Know your limits and stick to them. And if you do overcommit? Call yourself out, admit fault, correct the problem, and don’t do it again.

#3—Marketing is mostly liquor and guessing
Well, perhaps there’s not that much liquor involved, but your marketing plan will change on a regular basis. Most authors have to do their own marketing, whether they’ve gone with a publishing house or gone indie, and marketing is a tough job. It’s hard to know what to do next or how to stay ahead of the curve.

The secret is to build a solid network of awesome people and for the author to be willing to experiment—and therefore fail. Authors have to try a lot of different techniques and avenues to find what works for them and their target market. It’s definitely not easy.

#2— Establish expectations
I didn’t know until recently that there are two popular camps within authors: those who expect an even exchange and those who just support who they like. Those who expect an even exchange only want to give attention to those who will also support them; alternatively, someone who supports who they love does so without the expectation of being reimbursed.

Sometimes, one author from each camp will exchange with each other and make assumptions about what the other is going to do. And when that happens—namely, when each fails to live up to the assumptions of the other—friendships explode and drama ensues.

My suggestion (and lesson learned) is to always ask what others expect when they ask for a favor—or when you ask for one. If someone reviews your book and asks you to review theirs, ask what they want you to do if you don’t like it. Also ask when they want you to get back to them. Just be clear in your communications.

#1—Have fun
Authors typically write because they love writing. If you lose sight of why you’re doing this, the stress and strain of a very difficult career can suck all the pleasure out of your passion.

So stay focused on why you write, and keep in mind what success means to you—success has a different meaning for everyone. As long as you strive toward that goal and meet it, you are an absolute success.

What about you?
Authors, what do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published or queried an agent? Do you know of anyone with a horror story or who absolutely did it right?


Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the author & the book
 Connect with SM Boyce on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

The Way Home by Nhys Glover

PROLOGUE

October 1940, Leconfield, Yorkshire, ENGLAND

What it was about the large farmhouse Hawk did not know, but from the first moment he crossed its threshold, he felt at home. Its thick stone walls embraced him; its low beams protected him.

Homesickness or nostalgia couldn’t account for his feelings because the place was very different from its counterparts at home. Nothing in England reminded him of Poland.

‘Come in, come in, don’t stand there like statue,’ the farmer demanded, his gruff Yorkshire accent softened by his friendly tone. He looked to be in his fifties, although there was the fragility of old age about him, too, as if his body had worn out earlier than it should.

‘You do understand me, don’t ye? I know ye’re foreign an’ all…’

Hawk grinned and nodded. Although the man’s accent was strong, he understood it well enough. ‘I speak English. We had to learn before they would let us up in their planes.’

The farmer nodded sagely, still waiting for him to move into the house more fully. Hawk wanted to savour the moment like a fine liqueur, letting the taste remain on his tongue, breathing it in through his nose.

There was mustiness in the air of a damp space kept closed up for too long. He could smell furniture polish and wet dog. There was also the odour of manure that had accompanied them in from the farmyard. None of the individual scents he identified gave him sensations of pleasure, but in combination, they affected him pleasantly.

He’d grown up in the city. Rural life was alien to him. Mostly, it worried him with its isolation, but not here, not in this farmhouse. Here, the rural setting suited him. Here, the isolation felt comfortable, as if he could be wholly himself for the first time without the intrusion of others. The sound of aircraft landing and taking off nearby only added to the feeling of home.

‘Is it shell shock ye’re sufferin’?’ The farmer was staring at him now, his deeply lined brow puckered with concern.

Hawk gave himself a mental shake and smiled at the man again. ‘Sorry, no. It is just this house. I feel like I know it… or it knows me. I sound like a crazy person, I know. Would you prefer I left?’

He didn’t want to leave – not now. Not ever, a little voice in his head said. If the man began to worry about Hawk’s sanity, however, it might be better. They didn’t want to get a bad reputation with the locals. Already, the man might see him as an intruder. After all, Hawk had wandered up his long drive to the farmhouse for no reason other than he wanted to know what was at the end of the road. He hadn’t been invited onto the property until the farmer had seen him and offered him welcome.

‘Nah then, lad, don’t be daft. I invited thee, didn’t I? And our Mildred’ll give me a right say-so if I let thee go before tha’ve had a cup o’ tea. We’ve heard about thee lads, the 303 Squadron?’

The man had turned and had begun walking down the dark hallway, talking all the while. Hawk couldn’t draw the moment out any longer. He had to follow along behind the farmer or be considered rude.

He took several long, striding steps to catch up with the Yorkshireman. ‘Yes. We were rotated out to Leconfield from Northolt for a break. Six weeks we have been in the air.’

‘One hundred and twenty-six kills in six weeks, they’re sayin’. Impressive, and we aren’t impressed by foreigners easy in these parts.’

‘We lost eighteen Hurricanes, seven pilots and we have five more badly wounded. That is not so impressive.’

‘If I told thee the losses we took at the Somme, thee’d think twice about that.’ The man’s voice was hollow, as if it came from a long way away, a lifetime away.

‘You survived the Great War?’

‘Aye. Lucky’s what I was, nowt but lucky. The mustard gas got ta ma lungs, but nowt bad. Now ‘ere’s our Mildred…’

They’d made it to the back of the house by now and entered the big country kitchen with its wooden table in the centre and flagstones on the floor. A big black range burned hot against the far wall. He could feel its heat from where he stood. A small window over the sink was open, as was the back door, probably because it was midday and the sun was shining. The cool air from outside also balanced the heat inside a little.

He could see autumn leaves, golden and beautiful, on the oak tree just outside the window. They seemed to glow in the sunlight.

Mildred was a matronly woman with grey, straggly hair and a friendly smile. Her face was flushed red from the heat of the stove. She wiped a strand of hair away from her face with the back of a floury arm.

‘Ayap, who’s tha wi’ ye then, our Alf? A ‘andsome airman fromt’ looks of ‘im.’

The Way Home

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Historical  Romance

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Nhys Glover on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://nhysglover.com/

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk Mystery Trilogy - Jim Musgrave

Chapter 4:  Alcohol and the Black Cat

The next day, I wanted to go back and see if I could get some real information out of Plug Ugly gang leader Walter McKenzie in Hoboken, New Jersey.  He was doing business all along the docks during the time Poe was working in New York.  Today, he was limited to the docks in Jersey.  I was hoping he could supply me with some specific clues about Poe and his relationship with the murdered tobacco shop girl.

The cobblestone streets in the poorer neighborhoods collected refuse and dead animals.  People threw their garbage out of the windows and the dead rats, dogs and cats fell down into big cracks in the road where they would stink to high heaven.  One of our tortures as children would be to force the victim’s face down into one of these cracks until he or she began screaming for release.

I went through the same inspection process as I entered the dockside building where McKenzie had his center of business.  “Watch it with your hands, ladies,” I told them, “don’t touch anything you don’t want to buy,” I added, as they felt all around my legs and up my back.

“He’s clean,” said a ham-fisted gangster wearing a dock worker’s uniform of black gabardines and red suspenders.  He also had a cargo hook hanging from his belt that probably served more as a weapon than as a loading utensil.  The three of them pushed me into the back room and slammed the door.

Today, Walter McKenzie was not in his cups.  Instead, he had two prostitutes, one on each knee, giving him little chucks under his three chins and whispering sweet nothings in his cauliflower ears.  They wore Chinese gowns with gold dragons on the front, and their black stockings could be seen as their legs crossed each other. 

He swiveled his big chair around toward me.  “O’Malley, is it?  Ya ain’t no relation to Father O’Malley, the priest who comes down to the docks to tell us we’re all goin’ to Hades, are ya now?”

“No, I’m just trying to show the world that the Irish aren’t all a bunch of sots and drunkards.  I thought maybe you could answer a few questions for me now that you’re not besotted.  The case I’m working on has to do with events happening in New York City from 1846 to 1849.”

“It depends.  I ain’t no stool pigeon.  And I won’t help the police,” McKenzie said, pushing the girls off his knees and standing up.  “Get back to work on your backs!” he laughed, and the women left the room giggling.

“I won’t ask anything that would put your grand reputation in jeopardy,” I said, “and I am not a flat foot.  I’m a vet who’s trying to make a living in private investigations.”

“A man of the Union, are ya then?”

I nodded.

“That’s a horse of a different color, now ain’t it?  Ask away, O’Malley, me boy-o.  Ya risked your life so’s the likes of me can stay in business, and I’ll give ya my best memory, ‘though there’s been a lot of malt into me bowels and a few whacks on me skull during all these years,” McKenzie laughed, pointing to his head.

“Did you ever work for a gentleman by the name of John Anderson?  He owned a tobacco shop in New York during those years,” I said.

“Anderson.  Let me see now.  That name’s familiar.  It was an Anderson come to me about that Rogers girl.  Mary Rogers was her name.  But it weren’t a Mister Anderson.  It were Missus Anderson who come to me about the woman trouble that Rogers was having.  She was ready with the money, and I told her about the best: Madame Restell, the female doctor with the mansion on Fifth Avenue.”

I tried a different approach on the old blackguard. “All right.  I know about Mary Rogers and her troubles.  What I want to know is if Mister Anderson was mentioned at any point in your conversation with his wife?”

McKenzie furrowed his brow.  “Ya know, she did say that the girl was living with them when she got into trouble.  I thought it were strange, but these rich bastards are always knockin’ up the hired help, if ya know what I mean,” he snickered into his big hand.  “She also asked me if I could send somebody to follow this Mary Rogers around.  Missus Anderson said she was worried that she’d get into more girl trouble.  So’s I sent Bernie Ryan to do it.”

Most of this information, except for the hired goon, verified what the poet William Ross Wallace was telling me about Anderson and his relationship with the Rogers girl.  Ergo, if Anderson got his tobacco shop girl pregnant, and his wife found out about it, then she would certainly want to have the problem taken care of post haste.  Mary Rogers and her mother moved into their own place shortly after that.  She was finally out of temptation’s way.

However, if Anderson did impregnate the girl, it still didn’t prove he wanted to kill Poe.  Poe, in fact, according to Wallace, was hired to write the story that helped keep the police from suspecting the tobacconist millionaire of killing the girl.  Anderson would not have wanted Poe harmed, if he were being helped by the famous writer.  No, there must be another connection between Poe’s death and the death of Mary Rogers, and I needed more information to find out what that connection was.

“Is there any more information you remember about Rogers and the Andersons?  Also, did you ever hear about Edgar Allan Poe having anything to do with the Rogers death?” I asked McKenzie.

“No, all I knew were that Missus Anderson wanted the problem handled by the best.  I never heard no Mister Poe mentioned at all, me boy-o,” said McKenzie.

I got up from my chair and reached out to shake Walter McKenzie’s hand.  His grip was still strong at age sixty-two.  “Thank you.  I’ll be in touch, if you don’t mind, if I can think of anything else,” I said, and I handed him one of my business cards.  “If you remember anything, just send me a message,” I said, and I left the room.

Jim Musgrave

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Createspace

Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with  Jim Musgrave on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://contempinstruct.com/Forevermore/

$250 Amazon.com gift card giveaway

Thursday, October 3, 2013

#Free–Clean Eating - The Benefits of an Eat Clean Diet by Dottie Copps

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Clean Eating: The Benefits of an Eat Clean Diet by Dottie Copps

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Non Fiction

Rating – G

4.9 (17 reviews)

Free until 3 October 2013

Do you know what clean eating means? Are you aware of all of its benefits? Maybe you wonder just what someone eats when they are on a clean eating diet. If you have wondered what the benefits of this diet are and how you can benefit from them, read “Clean Eating – The Benefits of an Eat Clean Diet.” You will learn how to begin a clean eating diet, how to stay on the diet without having cravings and how to incorporate plenty of different types of food to avoid getting bored with the same meals over and over again.
Whether you simply want to know more about clean eating for beginners or you are ready to dive in head first on this new healthy lifestyle, you will love what you can gain from this book:
• Learn what makes up clean foods and how they qualify
• Learn the effects of excessive sugar and sodium in your body
• Learn how you can lose weight by following the clean eating guidelines
• Understand how to achieve overall wellness
• Learn how to read labels

Kat H. Clayton – Inside the Mind of an Author

Inside the Mind of an Author

by Kat H. Clayton

If you had the opportunity to look into the mind of an author, what would you expect to find?  What if I told you that an author’s mind was like a crystal ball and you could peer into its inner workings? If you were to ask for a glimpse, I think you might be scared of what you would see or at least be perplexed. But then again, that probably wouldn’t just apply to just an author’s mind. There’s good reason for why mind reading is something that only exists on the pages of a paranormal or science fiction novel.

I really couldn’t tell you what you would find inside the mind of any author you choose (note the whole mind reading thing again), but I can give you a glimpse into what you might find in mine.

If you didn’t know who I was, but someone handed you that crystal ball I mentioned a moment ago and said that it would allow you to see what’s going on in my brain, you would probably be terrified by what you would see. It would most likely reveal images of how to kill a person or how to almost kill a person, but bring them back from the brink of death. It also might show you images of a high speed chase or two as well. Without knowing who I was, you would likely conclude I’m a serial killer or at the very least a psychopath, drop the ball and run for your life. You wouldn’t have been so terrified if, before you had peered into that magical ball, that someone explained that I am a mystery writer. Then all the crazy images would make sense. You would sigh in relief knowing I wasn’t a maniac and that thinking of ways to kill off characters comes with the job description.

Inside my mind, I’m always turning over new ideas of how, when and what character isn’t going to make it to the next book. I’m also constantly churning ideas of where to put clues for my characters to find and what revelations to create next to keep my readers guessing the whole time. I’m a “pantser” (I write by the seat of my pants) and I don’t outline, so my writing thought process is from moment to moment, jumping from one thing to another without really thinking about what happens next beforehand.

These thought processes never really stop in my brain, so no matter if you pick up my crystal ball while I’m doing laundry, reading another novel, swimming or driving, I’ll be turning over some sort of scene and trying to logically work it out in my brain. For this author, the thought processes of my story never stop (except maybe when I’m asleep, but sometimes even then I dream about it), but you can rest assured that not all of them involve killing off characters.

The first book in The Kings of Charleston Series.

Casper Whitley is forced to move to Charleston, South Carolina where she’ll be the new kid her senior year of high school. Casper’s upset about the move until she meets the Roman family’s gorgeous son, Cal, but there’s a problem. A mystery surrounds him which can be summed up in one word…Kythera. Never heard of it? Neither has Casper until she finds the word tattooed on cars, paintings and all her new friends.

After Casper’s life is threatened, someone is forced to tell the truth about her parents, the Romans and Kythera’s motives for her being in Charleston. Once the truth is revealed, she must decide whether to protect her family and Kythera’s secrets or walk away from everything she has ever known.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA / Mystery / Suspense

Rating – PG13 (No sex scenes, some violence)

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Kat H Clayton on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://kathclayton.com/

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

#Free: Accountability Leadership @DiWorrall

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Are You Still Living In Hope That Your Employees Will Follow Through On Expectations?

Ask anyone in charge of managing people to define their number one leadership challenge, and they’re likely to tell you that it’s achieving accountability for performance. CEOs, top executive teams, managers, and line supervisors all struggle to get the right things done, the right way, by the right staff, at the right time. When goals are met or exceeded, everyone’s a hero. But even the very best organisations face unforeseen challenges and sometimes fail to meet their goals. At such times the organisation must quickly be put on the right track, and this cannot be done without a strong culture of accountability.

Many organisations continue to implement traditional systems of accountability in an attempt to drive high performance in the workplace - only to see those efforts fail. The problem is, in many organisations accountability is viewed as something negative that happens to you when things go wrong. This kind of accountability never works over the long term. Real accountability is achieved through a step-by-step process that makes things go right.

Business leaders who employ the new principles of leadership accountability stand to multiply their chances of success and market leadership, reporting high performing characteristics such as:

· Cross-functional teams are the norm and are aligned, flexible, and adaptive to change.

· Delivering on or beyond expectations is the norm rather than the exception.

· Individuals and teams have a sense of ownership, and are focused, disciplined and collaborative, while holding each other accountable for outcomes.

· The din of organisational silence is replaced with communications which are engaging, high trust, and free flowing.

· Instead of entitlement, fear, blame and change resistance - organisational policies are driven by accountability, trust, and continuous improvement.

· Striving for excellence in customer service is embedded as a core business value.

· Company-wide culture embraces learning. It’s fun, friendly, and meaningful, and delivers great results.

The case for improved accountability in leadership has become critical for any leader with pragmatic desires for better business success.

In the #1 Amazon best seller, Accountability Leadership, you will find how great leaders are discovering a previously untapped goldmine of opportunity for personal, team and business transformation using the new science of accountability to build a high performance culture of accountability and responsibility.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Di Worrall on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.diworrall.com.au/

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Magistrate (The Prisonworld Trilogy) by Keira Michelle Telford

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Five years ago …

An explosion shakes the ground and sends a plume of thick black smoke up into the air, a raging ball of fire beneath it. Debris is thrown up and comes crashing back down to earth: bits of stone and brick, chunks of twisted metal, and scraps of human flesh.

The entire western elevation of Hamilton House—an imposing Victorian building located on the Victoria Embankment in the EC4 zone of London, right at the edge of the Square Mile—is destroyed, leaving a gaping, fiery hole from which the screams of the injured echo into the deserted Inner Temple Gardens beside it.

After the blast, and the brief moment of hollow silence following it, the normally tranquil area around Victoria Embankment is flooded with noise.

Sirens.

Fire.

Police.

Medics.

In the coming hours, the news will report that the Home Secretary is dead, along with several senior Section Five officers. Many more people—other Section Five officers included—were injured, and the first to be dragged from the wreckage by a couple of passing pedestrians is a forty-odd-year-old man. His shoulder-length light brown hair, which is normally pulled back into a neat ponytail, is bedraggled and scruffy. Dressed like a proper gentleman—in other words, a toff—he’s wearing an expensive suit, complete with waistcoat and silk puff tie.

His tweed flat cap falls off, getting trampled on as the two conscientious humanitarians pull him across Inner Temple Gardens and lie him down on the soft green grass away from the fire and the smoke, helping him to breathe.

The Magistrate

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Genre - Lesbian Romance/ Dystopian/ Neo-Victorian

Rating – R (18+)

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Website http://www.ellacross.com/

Monday, September 30, 2013

Free Alert - What Lies Inside by J.L. Myers

~
The remainder of the morning, with constant and at times agonizing restraint, had so far passed without any bloodshed. Every moment around humans, I felt on the precipice of crumbling. Always, the sinister plotting of how to take one of them down without repercussion played at my thoughts. Reprieve seemed unattainable, until my first double art class before lunch.
The art center was a separate and small building. It was located down a quiet path shrouded by a thicket of sassafras trees, and isolated from the main building. Its seclusion and smaller class headcount disturbed me. There’d be fewer witnesses if I lost it, less mess to clean up. It would take more control than I thought I could muster, to keep my mind from planning someone’s bloody demise.
Preparing for a doubled forty-five minute game of ‘ignore and don’t kill’, I walked stiffly through the open door into class. A girl with pixie-like features and sleek fiery-red hair bopped in front of me. My mouth clamped shut, holding my breath.
The girl’s face beamed as she swayed on her much-too-high-for-school stiletto heels. “Hi, you must be Amelia. I’m Vanessa.”
Her bubbly personality floored me. So far she was the only person—apart from the mysterious and tempting Ty—to introduce herself to me. The memory of him tugged at me from within, our entire interaction imprinted on my mind. I could remember every detail of his appearance and the few words he’d said to me. Still, I was no closer to placing him.
Now this girl was watching me, waiting on a reply while I stood reminiscing. “Uh, hi,” I said with caution.
Vanessa motioned to the back of the classroom, where two vacant easels waited. They were the only two left available. “Come on, I saved you a seat.”
With a smile, she turned and led the way past the other students already seated. A broad beam of warm sunlight streamed through the wall, made entirely of glass panels. The light encompassed the two vacant easels and a single paint rack positioned between them. Not nearly a good enough barrier to separate her from me.
The sun’s rays cast a distinct line across the polished cement floor. I paused at its edge, staring blankly past Vanessa and into the lush fernery beyond the glass. Sunlight was supposed to burn vampires. Well, all turned vampires, from what I had been told.
Yesterday I even witnessed it. I had been in the front passenger seat of Mom’s Mercedes SUV, bewildered by the huge mansion before us. The day was overcast, wind-blown clouds sheltering what should have been a pastel-blue sky. Mom slid from the car while Dorian and I stared. Was this monstrous structure really our new home?
Then the clouds shifted. A sizzling and gag-worthy stink of burning flesh reached us. Mom swore—something she rarely did—and dove into the back seat, tugging the door shut behind her. The UV resistant tint provided refuge from the sun’s escaping rays.
“Mom!” I cried, twisting in my seat. “Are you okay?”
Dorian’s arm shot out, collecting her hand and pulling it forward. “Shit!”
A bubbling welt of scorched flesh covered her forearm. “Language, Dorian,” Mom chastised. “And I’ll be fine.” She pulled her hand from Dorian’s. Instantly the redness began to soothe, the bubbled skin smoothing until her arm was totally unblemished.
I turned back to the dashboard, dropping my head into my hands. “Tell me again,” I said, hating the quake of my voice. “Tell me how you’re affected by the sun, when we’re not?”
Mom had gone over this subject many times at the cabin, but I was still unsettled by her explanation. The story just didn’t add up.
Mom flattened her blouse and sighed. “I was turned as an adult. However, it seems the circumstances in which you were both infected has provided immunity.” She edged forward, her posture straight as she rested a firm hand on each of our shoulders. “Now, this is the last time I will repeat myself.”
Back in the classroom, Vanessa had taken her spot and was waiting, watching me with a mixture of what looked like impatience and anticipation.
Shaking the memory from my mind, I stepped into the light. The curve in Vanessa’s smile twitched, her piercing blue eyes blinking.
“Welcome, Amelia.” The sudden voice caused Vanessa to jump, knocking her knee against the paint rack. A thin woman in paint-spattered overalls and a paintbrush holding her hair back in a bun, stood at the front of the classroom. “I’m Mrs. Ruby.” She looked to Vanessa. “Vanessa, would you please explain the project options to Amelia?”
Vanessa nodded, shifting her eyes back to me. Her face was painted with a perfect and what I thought was a faked smile. There goes my paranoia, again.
“So, we have two options,” she said. “Create a portrait of what we see ourselves becoming in ten years, or reveal our hidden selves. The side we keep secret from the world.”
The image of me devouring a blood-baggie that morning, with greedy drops of crimson escaping the corner of my mouth, intruded on my thoughts. Not pretty. Bile threatened to rise up at the back of my throat. I swallowed in an attempt to push it back down. Then I grasped a tube of paint from the rack to mask my discomfort. “Sounds interesting…”
Vanessa leaned closer, eyes sparkling. “So, what do you see yourself becoming in ten years?”
I clung tighter to the paint tube. The lid popped and a squirt of green shot at the ground. A murderer, I thought. Though I doubted ten years would pass before I did finally lose control. “Um…” Needing to evade her watching eyes, I snatched paper towel from the rack to clean up the mess. I searched my mind for a normal response, before hesitating and coming up blank. “I really don’t know.”
Vanessa crossed her arms over her chest. “Well, what about the second option? Got any deep dark secrets I should know about?”
Yes. I’m a vampire and drink blood, I thought, but had the better sense to respond with. “Nope… What about you?”
I attempted to keep my voice level, even though I was lying through my teeth. Teeth? I did a double take, running my tongue over my teeth. They were completely level and human. My fangs aren’t extended? And that’s when it hit me, or should I say, didn’t hit me. I couldn’t scent her blood.
My eyes shot up to Vanessa, who shrugged. “Well, I am kinda a fashion Nazi, which sucks for me. Unlike almost every kid at this school, I’m on a scholarship. Even with a part-time job I’m reduced to shopping online.”
“Where do you work?” I looked her over while sniffing the air. Diamant√©-studded stretch jeans and a fitted, red-leather jacket. No scent.
“Nowhere, really. It’s more of an errand-based gig.” As I kept staring, a frown pinched Vanessa’s brow. “What?” A look of horror transformed her expression. “Oh my God, don’t tell me I have body odor!”
Wiping the primal look from my face, I shook my head. “No. Sorry.” I held up my hand that still clung to the paper towel smeared with green paint. “It’s the paints,” I said, drilling my brain for a normal excuse. “They, uh…smell the same as the ones from our old school. Kind of like toe-jams and toothpaste.”
“Oh, good,” she said, voice hesitant, “as long as you can’t smell me.”
Forcing a smile, I began squeezing different paints onto a pallet. I should have been figuring out what I planned on painting. I should have been doing anything and everything to appear normal. But my mind was elsewhere. Yes, I felt relieved to have met someone I didn’t want to drain, to drink from until they were lifeless in my arms. Still I couldn’t get my head around her lack of scent. Who was this girl?
“Hey,” Vanessa said, breaking my train of thought. “What’s your mobile number?” When I frowned, wondering why on earth she’d want my number, she said, “You do have one, don’t you? I mean next to lip gloss, it’s the one accessory a girl can’t live without.”
Puzzled, and trying not to stare at her heavily-glossed lips, I pulled my iPhone from my jeans and handed it over. It was personalized with a Three Days Grace case.
Vanessa snatched the phone and dialed from it. Then she pulled her own mobile, sporting a cover speckled with diamantes, from her jacket pocket. It chimed and her fingers glided over the glass screen. “All done,” she said handing mine back. “I texted you my number too.”
“Oh, thanks.” The phone chimed and I stuffed it back into my pocket. The interaction left me feeling even more confused. She’s just being friendly, I tried to convince myself. But my suspicion didn’t agree.
After that I stared at my blank canvas for what felt like forever. I was trying to force myself to think about the project, but my mind kept wondering about the unusual girl sitting beside me. When the bell rang, I realized my efforts had been useless. I had spent the entire class staring at my canvas and tapping a dry paintbrush against my thigh.
Vanessa rose to her feet and looked down at me. “Got any plans for lunch?”
“Uh, no,” I replied. Where she was going with this?
“Great! You can sit with us.”
Eat in a cafeteria full of humans? Yeah, that’ll end well. “I can’t,” I said quickly, thinking up a lie. “Math quiz tomorrow. I need to study.”

“Study can wait.” Vanessa strung her arm through mine and yanked me forward. “Besides, I’m not taking no for an answer. Oh and don’t worry, my friends don’t bite,” she said flashing me a wicked grin, “unless provoked.”
What Lies Inside
Free until 30 September 2013
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Genre – YA Paranormal Romance
Rating – PG-13+
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My Definition of Success – Karen Walker

My Definition of Success
by Karen Walker

—It’s never too late to go for your dreams.
—It helps to be willing to do whatever it takes to make that dream come true.
—Hard work, persistence, and tenacity DO pay off.
—Letting go of the pictures in our heads, of how things should be, opens up new possibilities and opportunities.
—Letting go of expectations about results makes the journey less painful.
—Look at your definition of success and reframe it, if necessary.

What’s your definition of success?
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE INDIESTRUCTIBLE
100% of proceeds will be donated to BUILDON.org, a movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Contributing authors:
Alex J. Cavanaugh <> Angela Brown <> Anne R. Allen <> Briane Pagel <> C.S. Lakin <> Ciara Knight <> Cindy M. Hogan <> D. Robert Pease <> Dawn Ius <> Emily White <> Greg Metcalf <> Jadie Jones <> Jessica Bell <> Karen Bass <> Karen Walker <> Kristie Cook <> Laura Diamond <> Laura Pauling <> Laurel Garver <> Leigh Talbert Moore <> Lori Robinson <> Melissa Foster <> Michael Offutt <> Michelle Davidson Argyle <> Rick Daley <> Roz Morris <> S.R. Johannes <> Stephen Tremp <> Susan Kaye Quinn
About Karen Walker:

Karen Walker is a writer who has published essays in newspapers and magazines, as well as in an anthology series. After a 30+ year career in marketing and publishing relations, she went back to college to complete a Bachelor’s degree and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2005 from the University of New Mexico’s University Studies program with a major emphasis in Creative Writing. She is currently working on her first novel and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband, Gary, and their dog, Buddy.

indiestructible

Need motivation and inspiration to self-publish, or sign that contract with an interested small press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? “Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle” brings you the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

This is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

100% of proceeds from “Indiestructible” purchases will be donated to BUILDON.org

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Genre –  Non-fiction
Rating – G
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cleanse Fire by Anastasia V Pergakis

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Pars IV

20th day of Solis Moon, 1364

Derac choked. "What?"

"He came to speak with me while I was in the bath." The amber swirls in her eyes glowed bright and betrayed her panic, but her voice was calm.

His eyebrows shot into his hairline. "Did he force himself on you?" He swallowed the bile in his throat.

"No. He stared at me in a way that made me extremely uncomfortable and," she paused and held her lips between her teeth for a moment. "He kissed my neck. He didn't press any further than that, however."

Derac's breath rushed out of his lungs. He leaned back against the sofa and forced his muscles to relax. "What did he say?"

"He told me that he had great power, greater than just being the Mission Commander. He told me I should partner with him."

Derac's eyebrows shot up again. "What did you say to that?"

She spoke in hushed tones, but the words tumbled from her lips. "I told him no. I don't care for power. He said I could have my own power if I did partner with him. Then he told me to think about it. To wait until after the mission. He said that the events of the mission would help me to make up my mind. I have the awful feeling that this mission is going to go terribly wrong, and the Commander is behind it." She paused to her catch her breath. "Centurio, I know it sounds outlandish, but my feelings have never let me down before. We have no proof, but I think at the very least we should exercise caution around the Commander until we do find out the truth."

Derac rested his chin on the tips of his fingers. The elf thought he could barge in on the elfa's bath like he was supposed to be there? He tried to feel shocked at his Commander's possible betrayal and perverted actions, but he failed.

"What should we do?"

"I trust your judgment Kie. And you're right, we don't have proof. But I think I know of a way to get it." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "We tell the Commander our plan is to stay together. During the mission however, we split up. Get one group of faeries out of the cells and have two elite lead them back to the cabin. The other four will get the second group."

"Wait. Wouldn't that make the two vulnerable handling that many faeries on a six hour trip, on foot?"

"Yes. But, even if the faeries are weak, they could offer some help. There are hundreds of them down there according to the report." He winced. "Then again, you may have a point. What if the intel is wrong, yet again?"

"Didn't I see a report about sentry rotations at night?" Her eyes roamed over the table.

"Yes. It's here." He handed her the paper.

Her amber pools scanned the list. "Let's assume this is incorrect. According to this, they cut the guards in half at night. What if they had less? That would mean less to worry about. And, two of us could easily handle a few sentries."

"What do we do if they actually double the guards at night?"

Her lips pressed into a thin line. "Good point."

He pinched the bridge of his nose. "We can't even rely on our intel. Even if it ended that Palto was not involved, we could still be walking into an ambush. How would we know for sure it was his doing or just bad intel?"

She put her hands behind her head and glanced up at the ceiling. "I don't know. I have no skill with strategy."

He snorted. "You read battle strategies for fun."

"Exactly. I'm trying to learn. Doesn't mean I can make up new ones."

"All right. Let's go over all our options again. We can enter through the front or through the secret tunnel. With any of those options, we can stay together, split in half, or split four to two. Is there any other way to get into the mines?"

She shook her head. "I've heard rumors at the very top of the mountain is a shaft that runs all the way down to the lower levels of the mine. But, I don't know for certain and the mountain side is treacherous. We could injure ourselves more just trying to gain entry."

Derac held his head in his hands and tried to predict the outcome of their mission. Kie mirrored his position as her eyes scanned the intel scattered across the table. Her spine jerked and she sat up straight.

"What if we split up into three groups of two? Two to lead the first group out like you said before, two to provide protection, the last two get the second group. Done fast enough, all six of us and all the faeries would leave right after each other, or at least within moments of each other."

"And you say you have no skill with strategy."

She chuckled. "It's still risky though."

"What part of any mission isn't?" He sucked in air and held it a few moments before he exhaled. "Again, I don't like the plan, but it'll work."

They finalized their strategy and detailed every second of their mission. Confidence filled Derac that their idea would work and he ordered Kie to sleep.

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Genre – Fantasy / Military

Rating – PG13

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Pelican Bay–Jesse Giles Christiansen

Some things are better left alone…
After Ethan Hodges discovers an undersea cemetery just off the beach of Pelican Bay, South Carolina, he seeks answers from a grandfatherly fisherman named Captain Shelby. The captain wants the past to remain buried, and he warns Ethan to stay away. But Ethan doesn't listen.
Ethan's best friend and secret love interest, Morgan Olinsworth, joins in the investigation, unearthing intriguing secrets about the mysterious fisherman. When Captain Shelby is suspected of murder and disappears, a manhunt ensues, revealing a truth that unnerves everyone in Pelican Bay.

Pelican Bay by Jesse Giles Christinsen

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Mystery, Suspense

Rating – PG13

4.2 (29 reviews)

Free until 29 September 2013